Shift Away from View as A Disease

The speculated social contributions of autistic people have contributed to the shift in the perception of autism spectrum disorders as complex syndromes rather than diseases that must be cured. Proponents of this view reject the notion that there is an ideal brain configuration and that any deviation from the norm must be considered pathological. They demand tolerance for what they call their neurodiversity in much the same way lesbian and gay people have demanded tolerance for theirs. Views such as these are the basis for the autistic rights and autistic pride movements.

A Wired magazine article called "The Geek Syndrome" suggested that Asperger syndrome is more common in the Silicon Valley, a haven for computer scientists and mathematicians. It created an enduring notion popularized in the media and self-help books that "Geek Syndrome" equals Asperger syndrome and precipitated a rash of self-diagnoses in part because it was printed alongside Simon Baron-Cohen's 50-question Autism Spectrum Quotient Test. Like some people with Asperger syndrome, geek's may exhibit an extreme professional or casual interest in computers, science, engineering, and related fields and may be introverted or prioritize work over other aspects of life. However, no determination has yet been made of whether the "Geek Syndrome" personality type has a direct relation to autism or is simply a "variant normal" type that is not part of the autistic spectrum.

In addition, there is a controversial theory regarding science fiction fandom arguing that many of the distinctive traits of that subculture may be explained by the conjecture that a significant portion thereof has Asperger syndrome. Dr. Tony Attwood once speculated, not entirely in jest, that "Star Trek conventions are secret reunions for people with Asperger's Syndrome."However, the argument can be made that classifying Star Trek fans as Aspies or vice versa may be challengeable as cultural prejudice.

Regardless, societal acceptance of Asperger or Asperger-like traits is still rare, as many people in the autistic spectrum will confirm.